Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and an excellent source of nutrients. Brussels sprouts are a vegetable commonly seen in grocery stores, but not commonly found in home gardens.
This is probably because they are not the easiest vegetables to grow! They require a very long germination season (80-100 days in harvesting) and it is a cold season crop, which means that they give the best yield when they grow for autumn or early winter crop. Sprouts improve in taste after mild frost.
As long as you plant them at the right time, keep them cool and well-watered in the heat of summer, and protect them from pests, Brussels sprouts are a beneficial vegetable crop to grow.
Over the generations and generations, this versatile plant has been nurtured in different ways to highlight its different characteristics; flowers, leaves, buds, stems, and roots; to provide us with a variety of food! Brussels sprouts form along the main stem of the plant as buds just above the axis of each leaf.
Determination Of Planting Time:
To determine the best time to plant, count backward from your first fall date using the “maturity days” listed on the seed packet. Generally, this means sowing Brussels seeds about 4 months before your first autumn frost date.
When To Plant?
- In cold winter areas, where winter temperatures are often below freezing, plant seeds in early to mid-summer. The plants will mature in mid-autumn or early winter.
- In mild or warm winter areas, where winter temperatures are occasionally or rarely below freezing, start sowing from mid to late summer. The plants will mature from mid to late winter.
Growing Brussels Sprouts:
Brussels sprouts can be planted indoors or sown directly in the garden. Recommend practice is starting the seeds indoors; as this gives the seeds a head start and helps protect them from the summer heat and pests.
Directly sown seeds may take a few more weeks to mature, so if you plan to sow outside, add 20 days to your planting date calculation. (In other words, if you were starting them indoors, sow the seeds outside about 20 days earlier.)
Preparation Of Raised Beds:
Raised beds are especially recommended for cold season vegetables, especially in spring and autumn, when the temperature is not consistent.
A few days before sowing or transplanting, apply several inches of old manure or compost to the soil. Brussels sprouts usually reach a height of 2 to 3 feet, so plan accordingly. They may need staking.
- Sow seeds about 3 inches deep. If the seeds are sown directly outside, sow the seeds at a distance of about 2 to 3 inches. (Sprouts should be 12 to 24 inches thin when they are about 6 inches long.)
- Plant transplanted plants 12 to 24 inches apart. Water well when transplanting.
Care Of Brussels Sprouts In Raised Beds:
To thrive well in raised beds Brussels sprouts require the following things:
To get the best yield, cut off the top few inches of the plant a month before the first autumn frosts. This will encourage the plant to produce larger sprouts instead of taller ones. Brussels sprouts mature from bottom to top.
It is normal for the lower leaves to turn yellow as the sprouts mature. Just remove any spent address. When they are 1 inch in diameter, you can start pruning the bottom sprouts (gently twist them with a stalk or cut them with a sharp knife).
Like other members of the Brassica family, Brussels sprout seedlings can be damaged by flea beetles. Protect young plants by covering them with a piece of row cover (garden fabric) for the first couple of weeks after transplanting.
Brussels sprouts thrive in full sun, and in rich, constantly moist soil. Because Brussels sprouts and other plants of the cabbage family (such as bananas, collards, or broccoli) are susceptible to such a wide range of soil-borne diseases, it is a good idea to visit different areas of the garden in all seasons. Don’t plant Brussels sprouts where you last grew anything in the cabbage family.
Regular watering is a key to Brussels’ large sprouts. If the soil becomes too dry, the sprouts will shrink and will not grow fully. Check the soil regularly and water when the top inch is dry.
Brussels sprouts like a slightly acidic to neutral soil that is fertile, well-drained, and moist, with plenty of organic matter. Soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.
A good amount of organic matter will help them retain the moisture they need for their vigorous growth. Brussels sprouts like the soil around them to be firm, but not compacted. So tap it lightly.
Brussels sprouts prefer temperatures between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They will withstand a few days below freezing, and will even improve their taste with mild frost. It is not a hot crop – sprouts that ripen in hot or dry weather are bitter and weak.
Fertilize Brussels sprout plants twice a season with a nitrogen fertilizer. Once when the plants are about 12 inches high and again four weeks later.
Diseases include blackleg, black rot, and clubroot. Disease control is best achieved by rotating the crop each year. Clubroot is diminished when you raise the soil pH to about 7.0.
Sprouts will start ripening from the ground up after 80-90 days. Cut the sprouts when they are 1-2 inches in diameter, starting from the bottom of the plant. Pick the sprouts before they get too large and start cracking and turning bitter.
When the plants mature, the leaves sometimes turn yellow. Cut out these leaves. If you first remove the leaf below the sprout, then bend and pull the sprout. Some people prefer to cut the sprouts instead of pulling them. Each plant produces about a quarter of the total sprouts.
The second crop of Brussels sprouts:
After harvest, the second crop of Brussels sprouts may begin to grow on the base of the stem. They will not be as tight as the first buds, but they are still edible.
The tops of the leaves are also edible and can be cooked as greens. At the end of the season, pruning the tops is a good way to accelerate the growth of the remaining sprouts.
Do not wash or trim before refrigerating. You can store Brussels sprouts in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week.
Best Varieties Of Brussels Sprouts To Grow:
These hybrids are early producers, the 1-inch sprouts are easy to pick and the compact plant is disease-resistant. It is an early-maturing variety with a shorter growing season. It becomes mature within 85 days of planting.
Royal Marvel’ is an early and productive plant. Sprouts are round and dark green. The plant is resistant to bottom rot and tip burn. It also has a short growing season as you can expect yield within 80-85 days of planting.
These heirloom purple plants are late-maturing and lower-yield than green varieties but have good flavor. They will be ready for use in 85 to 95 days.
This variety tolerates heat and drought, and grows 2-inch sprouts that are resistant to powdery mildew and rust’. These hybrids get mature in 85 days.
Long Island Improved
All Brussels sprouts do well in cold weather, but Long Island Improved is highly tolerant of frost, which only serves to improve the flavor of your harvest. And perhaps that’s why this is the most common variety on the market today.
And for good reason – the medium-sized heads of this heirloom variety have a nutty, earthy, buttery flavor that’s pretty hard to beat. They will be ready for roasting in 100 days.
These hybrids grow fast and develop earlier, and that’s why it’s important. Brussels sprouts sometimes don’t produce good yields if they develop too late in the spring growing season, because that’s when the weather can become unexpectedly hot. And nothing makes a Brussels sprout more miserable than heat.
With Churchill, you can expect high yields with heads that grow and mature quickly in just 90 days. You can bring in more than 14 ounces of vegetables per plant, which is impressive.
Sometimes you want a bunch of giant veggies for your dinner table, and sometimes you want them to be a bit more bite-sized. Jade Cross has deep green, tiny little sprouts that grow anywhere from half an inch to an inch wide.
The hybrid plant is disease resistant and, because it grows with a compact habit, it does not tip over as easily as some of the taller varieties. It matures relatively quickly, in about 85 days.
Protection Of Brussels Sprouts From The Harsh Environment:
Inevitably when you garden in the winter months, you will experience the weather which is not right for your plants. A long freeze that solidifies the ground will kill your Brussels sprouts.
If you have a hard freeze in the forecast, you can give them a blanket of protection by applying a layer of mulch or floating row covers.
A thick layer of natural mulch such as straw or leaves will increase the temperature of the soil and prevent it from freezing. Mulching also helps to protect the ground from having as a result of repeated freezing and thawing.
Place several inches of mulch in a 12-inch diameter around each plant, or simply cover your entire bed if you have multiple plants growing together.
Floating row covers:
They increase the temperature around the plants and prevent them from freezing. Drape the fabric over your plants and secure at the soil line with rocks, stakes, or bricks.
Make sure there are no open gaps where cold air can sneak in. If you are worried about snow pressing down on the covers and bending your plants, you can put a few stakes or a wire cage under the cover to act as a support.